1:11 PM
 | 
Sep 13, 2018
 |  BC Extra  |  Preclinical News

Paper-based method for POC metabolite diagnosis

A metabolite detection method described in a Science paper published Thursday could provide clinicians with a paper-based point-of-care diagnostic that could potentially measure 42 metabolites implicated in a range of diseases. The method could improve diagnosis and management of multiple diseases for which POC analysis of the underlying metabolite is not available.

Researchers at the Max Planck Institute for Medical Research designed the method to measure the product -- NADPH -- of an oxidation reaction between a metabolite and its coenzyme.

In a proof-of-concept experiment, the researchers obtained similar results between a standard laboratory metabolite test and the paper-based assay when detecting phenylalanine levels in 40 patient plasma samples with concentrations of the metabolite ranging from 0-1.2 mM (Pearson's r=0.992). High blood levels of phenylalanine are indicative of phenylketonuria.

Phenylalanine concentrations in whole blood samples from four patients determined by the paper-based assay also overlapped with a second laboratory test.

The researchers could also detect glucose and glutamate using the assay. They wrote that 42 metabolites in total could be compatible with the assay, including triglycerides, cholesterol and alcohols that could contribute to cardiovascular, metabolic and other diseases.

Lead investigator Kai Johnsson at Max Planck told BioCentury the group plans to automate the assay to enable patient self-testing.

The method first dilutes a patient's blood containing a metabolite of interest in a solution with NADP+ and an enzyme that will catalyze the conversion of NADP+ to NADPH. After a 10-15 minute incubation period, the reaction is added to a piece of paper with a protein that changes color upon binding to NAPDH; and a digital photograph of the color change is analyzed.

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